The search continues…
So far we have decided on three possibilities for a replacement for my ailing HS20.
By reason of price, the FZ200 has to be ruled out. That leaves the X-5 from Pentax and the HS30 from Fuji. As I have decided to disqualify other manufactures due to their excessive zoom/sensor sizing that now leaves just two possibilities.
The Fuji HS30 isn’t a large update on the HS20, uses the same sized sensor and same lens as the HS20, has upgraded AF, ISO noise reduction improvements at high ISO, and has a better EVF (which I don’t normally use) as well as intelligent zoom, which I do like and was a feature I missed from the HS10.
Moving on to the second alternative the Pentax X-5, this camera by comparison is a step down from the Fuji in terms of functionality, and here my biggest concern is not that its a motorised AF camera but that the fastest shutter speed is only 1/1500th of a second, which when compared to the average for this class of camera of 1/4000th second is a major concern. On bright sunny days this could be problematic as I often shoot in extremes of light that require shutter speeds well above this level. While this camera has a slower lens than most of the opposition, I feel it should have at least been capable of 1/2500 sec shutter speed. This would then give the user a better range of option. For me this one feature is enough for me to say no to the Pentax even though I’m a Pentax fan.
It appears we have now gone full circle and have come back to the Fuji as the only real option that suits our purposes and budget. Which is annoying as I would prefer to have an X-S1 style camera, but at almost twice the price of the HS30 thats not an option either.
Are there other alternatives in this price bracket?
You will have noticed that I haven’t mentioned any of the compact superzooms like Fuji’s F800EXR, for very good reason. These cameras don’t have the best optics are are just too small for me to hold comfortably, big hands equals big camera.
So what then do we have as an alternative.
The main alternative is a DSLR or perhaps one of the 4/3 sensored cameras currently available. Currently Noel Leeming has the Canon 1100d for sale with lens for a remarkable $559.00NZD. This is by far a better camera all round than any of the bridge cameras we have looked at. Better AF speed,better viewfinder, not to mention vastly better image quality. Of course this camera has been around a while now and newer updated models are coming to market, but as a cheap all purpose shooter with the ability to have extra lenses its a very enticing option. If you want to do macro photography with this type of camera Canon make a range of Macro lenses and filter based macro lenses to suit just about every ones needs. Thats a hell of a lot of camera for less than the upper limit of our budget.
Would I buy one as a replacement for my HS20? Short answer yes. The amount of camera you are getting for your dollar is just not comparable to the new range of superzoom cameras. The only true advantage that the superzooms have is the All in One style package. For those of us who appreciate image quality, fine manual zoom lenses , not to mention excellent image quality, then something like the DSLR is going to be an very good alternative in our budgetary requirements.
The other option if you want to spend even less is to look at the likes of eBay & Trade Me for used equipment. There are some very nice cameras for sale in the used market, but watch your prices. I’ve recently seen a Canon 1100D for sale used and the price was $50.00 higher than buying new and getting a warranty to boot. Shop around folks, you will be amazed at what you can buy for $700.00 new or used.
For me for now though, I’m going to wait a couple of months more and see if we cant get something of a hint from Fuji as to what the future may bring us after Xmas.